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Marian Vessels

 

Ms. Vessels is Director of the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC), also known as the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center,  a member of the ADA National Network. Serving in this role since 1996, she is a liaison with ADA and disability coalitions in the six-state Mid-Atlantic Region (MD, VA, PA, DE, WV, DC). Among her primary areas of expertise are training and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act as it relates to employment,state and local government, and hospitality access issues. She is in considerable demand as a speaker and trainer and has traveled the country providing training on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Prior to joining the TransCen staff, Ms. Vessels was the Executive Director of the Maryland Governor›s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and the Director of the Maryland Governor's Office for Individuals with Disabilities. She was a Senior Health Educator for the Baltimore City Health Department for nine years. She has served as an Executive Board Member for the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Parents' Place of Maryland. Ms. Vessels also has had a gubernatorial appointment to the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council of which she was chair. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Towson University, and has received numerous awards for her commitment to disability issues and health education.


Mitch St.Pierre

 

Mitch St.Pierre is a world traveler, film-maker, businessman, community leader and currently working in Canada’s federal political arena. Traveling to over 40 countries in his wheelchair by the age of 28 has given him a broad view of the world. From the jungles of Colombia to the megacities of Asia, Mitch has experienced it all. Mitch's first film aired nation wide on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Current TV in the United States. Mitch has filmed in the most remote regions of the world, typically focusing on human rights issues. Mitch has also been a strong advocate for conflict regions which is what inspired him to get involved in politics. Politics has allowed Mitch to meet primeministers, presidents and many influential policy makers. "

 

Word is starting to get around about Mitch St. Pierre’s achievements in filmmaking, community involvement & advocacy. St. Pierre’s ability to tackle difficult projects are pointing him in a specific direction. In the coming elections, Mitch St.Pierre intends to run for federal office.

Although film-making and federal politics might seem an unlikely pairing, St. Pierre has devoted a great deal of time and planning to his life path. “I want to contribute to society by serving society,” he says. “The best way to prepare for that is to learn as much about the world as possible by traveling and film-making.” St. Pierre believes that the most effective way to influence change is through media. Inspiring, thought provoking, edgy documentaries are very effective in gaining awareness on differenct conflicts around the world. Changing public opinion on conflicts as just a subject, and motivating people to do good in the world.

St. Pierre has accomplished a great deal toward realizing his goals since he completed his Business Studies. He has become a world traveler, documentary filmmaker, accomplished businessman and noted community leader. By the age of 25, Mitch has travelled to over two dozen countries and he does it all from a wheelchair. His wheelchair also helps protect his body from a brittle bone condition called ostegenesis imperfecta.

“Traveling and shooting films is harder from a wheelchair for sure,” says St. Pierre. “I get my drive by keeping my eye on my political goals, and experiencing different worlds when traveling. I know my film career will facilitate that, which makes the hard times easier.”

St. Pierre’s odyssey began upon graduation when he and Sanderson pulled together $20,000 to buy filmmaking equipment. They founded Intermode Media Productions, producing promotional videos and documentaries for a growing roster of corporate clients and non-governmental organizations. Profits that St. Pierre and his partner make from commercial productions is funneled into producing films for the company’s documentary arm and organization, called Films for Human Rights. These are the projects closets to St. Pierre’s heart.

“The political documentaries we’ve made and plan to make in future are funded privately, usually by us,” laughs St. Pierre. “But they’re important subjects and stories that need to be told so we’re happy to use our profits toward their production.”

St. Pierre’s first documentary is called Await the Freight, which aired on CBC television in July 2006. In Await the Freight, which is a social experiment documentary on 2 friends who Train hop.

Their second project is a rough cut put together by St, Pierre and Sanderson for a documentary called The Road to Havana. This piece features what St. Pierre describes as “the untold story of Cuba. Most Cuban citizens don’t know what the country’s resorts look like. They can’t rent a car. They can’t even keep their own supply of cash.”

Their third project is a human rights documentary St. Pierre and a partner began shooting in Haiti in August 2006. They have produced a video that can be used by the Haitian community for educational or fundraising purposes. “We like to contribute to various communities here in Ottawa who are in need.”

Although he originally planned a marketing and advertising venture, his love of politics and human rights steered him toward filmmaking and advocating social justice. All of these things will contribute to what St.Pierre really needs to do in life which is to run for political office and start to make a lasting difference in the world.

“My passion is about learning and helping people in my community,” says St. Pierre.

 


 

SANDRA ESPARZA

cavaca63@hotmail.com

sesparza.sil@discapacidadesecuador.org

Phone: 001-593-9-776-9675

 

EDUCATION:    

Santiago de Guayaquil State University, Faculty of Architecture. 

National Institute of Public Administration of Alcalá de Henares (Spain).  

Doctorate course from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain 

EXPERIENCE REGARDING ACCESABILITY: 

Specialist with the Association of Municipalities of Ecuador (AME), supervising projects regarding the Elimination of Architectural Barriers and Physical Renovations being carried out by the municipalities under the agreement between the National Council on Disabilities (CONADIS) and AME.  September 2007 to February 2008 and 15 March to 15-May 2008.   

Speaker at the "First International Seminar on Special Tourism for People with Disabilities’’ (7 June 2008 / Baños--Ecuador)   

Author of an article on the progress of accessibility in Ecuador: October 2008 Vol-3 No-10 Newsletter of Design For All Institute of India.  

Co-author of the technical guide to physical accessibility, guide held in the Association of Ecuadorian Municipalities (AME), in agreement with the National Council on Disabilities (CONADIS) and with support from the Vice presidency (2008). 

Speaker at “SATH 13th World Congress for Travelers with Disabilities and the Mature” January 4-8 2009 with the theme “Ecuador's Progress in Accessibility”. 

January 2009 to February 2010 Technical advisor with the Asociación de Municipalidades Ecuatorianas  (AME) supporting various cities regarding the elimination of architectural barriers 

Author with AME of the proposal on Accessible Tourism for People with Disabilities, for those municipalities involved in the Elimination of Architectural Barriers. 

Technical advisor with CONADIS – February 2010, assisting in workshops for municipalities on the issue of The Elimination of Architectural Barriers. 

Guest speaker in the First Bi-national Colombia-Ecuador (29 November to 1 December 2010) Congress on People with Disabilities on the topic "Advances in the Elimination of Architectural Barriers and Tourism." 

CURRENT WORK:  

Coordinator of the "National Guide for Tourism without Barriers” with the Federation of Ecuadorians with Physical Disabilities (FENEDIF), an informational guide that lists attractions, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and other establishments are accessible to people with disabilities. 



Cheree Heller Liebowitz

Director of Marketing
Special Needs Group, Inc.

 

As the Director of Marketing for Special Needs Group, Inc. / Special Needs at Sea, Cheree Heller Liebowitz is responsible for increasing market share and awareness of the company’s growing product line.  During her time at Special Needs, Cheree has forged strong relationships with travel agents and travel organizations. She frequently holds webinars, seminars and continuing education courses for individuals in the travel industry about different types of special needs equipment and how to enhance sales by tapping Into the special needs market.  

Cheree is a seasoned executive with over 10 years experience in strategy, revenue generation, building customer relationships and business profitability. Prior to joining Special Needs Group, Cheree was a Senior Account Executive at Ogilvy, a WPP Group company, where she supervised experiential marketing programs for companies including American Express OPEN, Motorola, GE and IBM. For American Express OPEN, Cheree’s responsibilities included holding workshops for business owners about increasing cash flow and purchasing power through the American Express OPEN cards.  

Cheree also has an extensive event planning background and has created and produced events for AARP The Magazine, Major League Baseball and the American Cancer Society.  

Cheree holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida and a Certificate in Sports Marketing from New York University. She is a Miami Beach native who currently resides in Hollywood, FL with her husband, Barry, her three year old son, David, and seven month old son, Matthew.


Philip Cooke

 Life Time member of SATH

Since the inception of his travel agency "Travel Plans Unlimited" Philip Cooke has offered concepts on training and employing others. As a long-time member of the National Rehabilitation Association and supporter of the former President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped , his ideas have involved training and employing individuals who happen to be disabled. 

Philip Cooke is the President of National Rehabilitation Association - Mid-Atlantic Region for the year 2011. 

He has served his country in the army, air force and Coast Guard for many years. 

He is one of SATH’s Life-Time Member and a spokesperson. He has represented SATH at many travel and disability conferences and trade shows.


Kristy Lacroix

 

Kristy Lacroix is a Certified Accessible Travel Specialist with almost eighteen years hands on disability travel experience.  She started Wheelchair Escapes nine years ago and has helped many mobility challenged travelers to to travel with dignity having their special needs met along the way.

Kristy does specialize in  cruises for the disabled and has been accompanying her groups once or twice a year, but has also helped on many land based trips.
 
Kristy is a memeber of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and has reached the designation of Accredited Cruise Counsellor, Master Cruise Counsellor and will be finishing her Elite Cruise Counsellor Certification this Spring.  She is also a Caribbean Destination Specialist.  Next on her list is to become an Alaska Destination Specialist.
 
Kristy is a proud member of SATH (Society for Accessibble Travel and Hospitality) and attends their World Congress each year and helps out at the SATH booth at the Abilities Expo.
 
Her two most memorable trips have been a combination land tour/cruise in Alaska.  Her husband Jerry, especially enjoyed the wheelchair accessible helicopter ride. The other was a twelve night Scandinavia/Russia cruise with accessible tours in each location.
 
Kristy can be reached toll free at 866 382 3596 or by email at kristy@wheelchairescapes.com  Please visit her web site at www.wheelchairescapes.com